CLEVELAND — MetroHealth CEO and President Dr. Akram Boutros has announced that he will be retiring at the end of 2022.
In a statement, Dr. Boutros said:
“I fell in love with MetroHealth the first time I visited, and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to be its CEO. I never imagined that we would have accomplished so much so quickly. Over the past 8 ½ years, The MetroHealth System has emerged as a national leader, renowned for its focus on the community, and distinguished for its financial strength. And I am delighted to say that we have, arguably, achieved our vision of becoming the most admired public health system in the nation. With The Glick Center and Behavioral Health Hospital opening next year, it feels like the right time to hand the baton to MetroHealth’s next leader.”
Initially named as the company’s CEO in 2013, Boutros has overseen an expansion of the MetroHealth system, which now includes 20 community health centers, four hospitals, five MetroExpressCare locations and 10 pharmacies, in addition to MetroHealth’s main-campus medical center. According to the company, it has seen its annual revenue grow from $785 million to more than $1.5 billion under Boutros, while also creating more than 1,800 new jobs under his watch.
In 2019, MetroHealth established the Institute for H.O.P.E. (Health, Opportunity, Partnership and Empowerment), which connects patients and neighbors to fresh food, stable housing, education, career training and other services that keep them healthy. Dr. Boutros also led a $1 billion reimagining of the system’s main campus on West 25th Street, with the new MetroHealth Glick Center set to open in October 2022.
In a statement, MetroHealth Board Chair Vanessa Whiting said that the company will run a "thorough process" to find Dr. Boutro's replacement.
“Akram has been preparing the board and the health system for this day. We’re thankful that he has positioned us well and given us enough notice to run a thorough process to identify the person best-suited to succeed him,” said Whiting. “MetroHealth’s clinical strength, national stature, strong leadership team, financial strength and soon-to-be state-of-the-art main hospital and campus will allow us to attract a great pool of candidates.”
In his own statement, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic said:
"It has been an honor to work closely with Akram over the past few years. He has modeled a healthcare approach that goes beyond medical care, as evidenced by his efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of many people in our community. His commitment to healthy neighborhoods and high-quality care to patients in Cuyahoga County has changed many lives. I wish Akram all the best in his future endeavors"
Added Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish:
"All residents of Cuyahoga County have much to thank Dr. Boutros for as we learn of his impending retirement. Dr. Boutros has been a great partner for me and the County. Under his leadership, Metro is stronger than ever; it is undergoing a significant renovation project; during the pandemic Metro has responded to the urgent needs of underserved people to obtain testing and vaccinations; and, Dr. Boutros has been a leader in public and behavioral health, chairing the Board of the County’s Diversion Center.
"We are fortunate Dr. Boutros chose public service, and fortunate he chose Cuyahoga County."
Statement from Cliff A. Megerian, MD, CEO of University Hospitals Health System:
“On behalf of University Hospitals, I wish to congratulate the MetroHealth System team for all their accomplishments under Akram’s visionary leadership. UH and MetroHealth have a shared aim to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve. Accordingly, we have successfully collaborated on many initiatives to bring about change, which would not have been possible without Akram’s extraordinary commitment to enhancing access to high quality care. He has not only been a transformational leader for MetroHealth, but for our entire community as it relates to passionately promoting and actually moving the needle on public health. His focus on narrowing the health care disparity gap while bending the curve on social determinants of health, should serve as the North Star for health care leaders across this nation, including us here at UH. He has had a profound positive impact on our region and he will be hard to replace and greatly missed after he steps down at the end of 2022.”